Substance abuse and addiction are problems that can impact anyone at just about any time. If you are someone you know is having issues with addiction, there are treatment professionals who are available to provide a helping hand. One of the most common drugs of abuse in the United States is heroin. Approximately 1 million people in the United States have issues with heroin addiction annually, but there are many effective treatment options available.
You can put yourself and your family in the best position possible to recover by learning more about heroin addiction. What do you need to know about heroin addiction, and what should you do if you or someone you know needs help?
Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs of abuse in the world. It is a powerful opioid drug that leads to pleasurable effects, which is why it is one of the most common causes of substance use disorder (SUD). It is a Schedule I drug, and it is considered to be a depressant. Because it is categorized as a Schedule I drug, it does not have any readily accepted medical uses, and it has a very high potential for abuse.
Heroin itself is usually synthesized from morphine. Morphine is a powerful, controlled, prescription medication that is usually used for acute pain control in an inpatient hospital setting. Morphine itself comes directly from the poppy plant, which is usually grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia. Poppy plants today are also grown in Mexico and Colombia, which is one of the reasons why heroin has become more common in the United States.
Heroin also has a variety of street names, with some of the most common examples being smack, H, and hell dust. Heroin usually looks like a white powder, but it is not unusual for drug dealers to mix heroin with other substances. This is typically called “cutting” it, and it can make it difficult for someone to know what they are truly purchasing. This simply makes heroin even more dangerous.
When someone takes heroin, the substance activates a number of opioid receptors in the brain. This results in a shift in sensory perception, leading to a feeling of euphoria. When that happens, dopamine receptors in the brain are released, and the pleasurable feeling leads to continued heroin use.
This is the reward cycle that many people associate with substance abuse and addiction. When someone takes heroin, dopamine is released from the brain, leading to a pleasurable feeling. This simply encourages people to take heroin again, leading to an endless cycle of drug abuse and addiction.
Because this can lead to compulsive substance use, despite potentially harmful consequences, heroin use is categorized as an addiction.
Like many other drugs, some people are more likely to become addicted to heroin than others. There are a few risk factors that could make it more likely for someone to be addicted to heroin. Some of the most common examples include:
While these risk factors might make it more likely for someone to develop a heroin abuse issue, this is a substance abuse concern that can happen to just about anyone at any time.
The exact signs and symptoms of heroin use and addiction will vary from person to person. The exact symptoms depend on what the heroin has been cut with, how much heroin someone has taken, how long they have been using it, and how frequently they dose it. This highly addictive substance can lead to numerous physical symptoms and opioid dependence.
Typically, the impacts of heroin use and addiction can be divided into short-term impacts and long-term impacts.
If someone takes heroin, some of the short-term effects someone may notice include:
There are several potential long-term impacts of continued heroin use as well.
Some of the most common long-term signs and symptoms include:
It is also important for people to remain vigilant for some of the signs and symptoms of a substance abuse disorder. Gradually, people will become more dependent on heroin because of the reward cycle. They may also develop a tolerance to heroin, which means that they will need to take more heroin to achieve the same results. This means that there is a much greater chance of a heroin overdose, which might need to be treated with naloxone.
Some of the signs that someone may have become addicted to heroin include:
There are many impacts someone may experience if they use heroin regularly. What is the recovery process like, and what do people need to know?
If you or someone you know needs to recover from heroin addiction, the first step is to remove all traces of heroin from the bloodstream. This means that there will be a detox process that takes place, and the exact nature of the withdrawal can vary from person to person.
Some of the factors that will impact the scope and severity of the withdrawal include how long someone has been using heroin, how frequently they have been using heroin, and what their underlying health is like.
Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin include:
The withdrawal process can be incredibly uncomfortable as someone recovers from heroin. Furthermore, there can be some significant medical risks associated with the withdrawal process if someone has an underlying medical condition. That is why it is important for everyone going through the withdrawal process to make sure they do so in the presence of medical professionals.
There are treatment options that doctors and healthcare providers can give to support someone as they go through the detoxification process. Then, once all traces of heroin are out of the system, the long-term recovery process can begin.
Even though it can be difficult for someone to break free from drug use of all kinds, including the effects of heroin addiction, it is possible when someone works with experts who have experience in this area.
For example, individuals who need help with the recovery process usually start in an inpatient setting. This means that they will spend time living and sleeping in an inpatient recovery center as the heroin leaves their system and as they learn more about coping skills that can help them resist cravings down the road. An inpatient setting is typically beneficial because it is a completely controlled environment where people cannot relapse. Furthermore, an inpatient recovery center provides different types of support that can remove stressors and allow someone to focus exclusively on their sobriety.
Then, many people benefit from group therapy settings as well. Group therapy is beneficial because people can learn from others who have substance abuse and drug abuse issues. They will realize they are not alone, and they will be exposed to a variety of coping mechanisms and treatment tips from others who have been in the same position. They can take these skills with them when they leave the inpatient recovery center. This could include medication-assisted treatment with methadone or suboxone. Buprenorphine and naltrexone are frequently used as well.
Some people decide to transfer to a partial hospitalization program or an intensive outpatient program when they leave an inpatient setting. In these treatment programs, individuals will spend many hours a day in treatment, but they will still sleep at home. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who might need a bit more social support before they transition back to the regular world.
Even after someone leaves one of these intense programs, one-on-one outpatient treatment is usually recommended, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. This type of therapy is critical because it can be customized to meet the needs of each individual. Furthermore, in a one-on-one setting, patients usually feel more comfortable opening up because they know that their privacy is comprehensive.
If you or someone you know is looking for help with heroin treatment, we are here to provide you with the care and support you need.
If you are someone you know is looking for help with heroin addiction treatment, rely on the experts at Riverside Recovery in Tampa, Florida. We are proud to be one of the most well-respected treatment centers in the local area, and we have a variety of treatment options that you can customize to meet your needs.
When you rely on our treatment professionals, the only thing you need to focus on is getting better. We will customize your treatment plan to meet your needs, allowing you to not only get sober but also stay sober. If you are ready to start the recovery process today, contact us to speak to a member of our team. We are always available to assist you.